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January 21, 2015

Festivals Extra: Let The CCI 2017+ Courtship Stories Begin

An LA Times page one business section article by Hugo Martin and Tony Perry has set off an all-new round of speculation about the fate of Comic-Con International in 2017 and beyond.

 They've confirmed that the show is talking to other locations as potential host cities, and that cities on this list include Los Angeles and Anaheim. The article features CCI spokesman supreme David Glanzer acknowledging that the decision won't be an easy one due to the quality of the competing suitors, even compared to the traditional strengths of the show's long-time home.

imageThe article also details -- and this is key -- the decline in momentum to expand the convention center that's been on the table since 2011. That half-billion dollar plan has had problems with financing, including a court order against a way of seeing that done that would have circumvented voters and gone straight to the downtown hotels. Complicating things yet further, the San Diego Chargers of the NFL also want to move downtown, or they could leave. The Chargers wouldn't directly compete with the con, but their issues add to the overall landscape of allocating downtown development issues. The Chargers are facing opposition from downtown hotels as to the kind of stadium they want, even.

Two figures in the article that you don't usually see: 60,960 room nights; nearly $178 million for the local economy more generally.

My hunch sitting here on the side of mountain in New Mexico at 4:37 AM drinking a beer is that Comic-Con International will extend a couple of years due to a combiantion of history and their pretty solid relationship with local officials, officials that have given the convention no reason to believe they aren't a first priority. But who knows? If San Diego continues to have problems expanding CCI will see its competitors -- using a basic model popularized by the July show -- continue to claim more attendees. A show moved up the coast might have a different, more immediate ceiling. The appeal of San Diego itself may also be a tiny bit diminished as the show spills over into the downtown area that used to provide an elegant contrast to the fury of the convention center floor.

I think the big takeaway here is that this will always be an issue every few years, and that a successful convention like CCI will have opportunities to consider changing the script even if it's in their nature to have things stay the same.
posted 3:35 pm PST | Permalink

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